Is Your Nonprofit Setting SMART Goals?

Do you know what the goals are for your nonprofit organization and the process by which you will achieve/exceed them? Has your organization created SMART goals?

Is Your Nonprofit Setting SMART Goals?

According to a study individual’s who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them.

All non-profit organizations regardless of size or industry should have goals.  Goals help a non-profit reach its mission one step at a time and ultimately serve the community better.  Without strategic goals, your non-profit is left without a roadmap to achieve your desired results. Are you creating SMART goals?

Believe it or not, there is a process that your non-profit can use to create more strategic and obtainable goals.  This method can be used organization-wide and help to develop a consistent goal specification process for your nonprofit.  The method that I am referring to is the process of creating SMART goals.  SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely (hence the acronym!).

Don’t forget that all SMART goals developed by your non-profit and push your organization closer to achieve its vision.

In today’s blog post we will explore each component of creating SMART goals for your non-profit in more detail.

Goals should be specific

“Setting goals is the first step to turning the invisible into the visible” Tony Robbins

Creating specific goals is the first thing that your non-profit can do to increase the chances of success.  Specific organizational goals that are defined should be clear and make sense to all stakeholders involved in obtaining them.  Specific goals should also include in-depth details about what exactly your non-profit is hoping to achieve, why, and how the goal will help to obtain your mission.


Goals need to be measurable

“A goal without a plan is just a wish” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

If your non-profit’s goals are not measurable how will you know if your organization is successful in achieving them or not?  The answer is you won’t.  Making sure that your non-profit’s goals are measurable will add the element of accountability to your organization’s execution strategy.  Measurability also allows the entire organization to understand where you are in the goal attainability process and can help to create organizational transparency internally and externally.

Goals need to be attainable

Attainability is another attribute that your nonprofit will want to consider when creating and prioritizing goals.  When determining whether a goal is truly attainable your organization may want to consider the following questions:

  • Does your non-profit have access to the resources to achieve the goal within the desired time frame?
  • How long will it take your non-profit to achieve this goal? What is the best timeline to attain the result?
  • How will other organizational goals affect your non-profits ability to carry out the goal timeline?
  • What does attainability look like for this goal? Does it align with your non-profit’s mission?

Goals need to be relevant

Achieving organizational goals is all about timing.  Determining whether your organizational goal is relevant today is important in the prioritization process.  Remember, just because a goal is not relevant for your non-profit today does not mean that it will not be relevant or something you want to focus on tomorrow.  Take the time to list out all your SMART goals by relevancy.  Completing this practice will create a process for your non-profit and allow you to revisit potential goals in the future.

Goals need to be time-bound

Your non-profits goals need to have a timeline associated with them.  When does your organization plan to achieve a specific goal? When does your organization plan to begin focusing on another goal? Determining a plan for goal implementation will dramatically improve the likelihood of your organization reaching milestones in a timely manner.


Creating SMART goals is a great way for any non-profit to develop a plan for executing specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound milestones with their mission guiding the process. Remember to prepare a list of goals by relevancy and hold your team responsible for reaching them.


Scroll to Top